Popular recording artist Carman Licciardello recently spoke out in defense of Joel Osteen, whom he called "a God ordained bridge between the mainstream world and the church," and called for Christian critics to stop "terrorizing" the successful megachurch pastor.
Osteen is often criticized by some Christians for promoting a watered-down Gospel and teaching positive thinking and prosperity instead of preaching about sin and repentance. The megachurch pastor and best-selling author leads along with his wife and other ministers America's fastest-growing church, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. Osteen always invites listeners at the end of his sermons to make Jesus their Lord and Savior, and encourages them to get plugged into Bible-based local churches.
But those actions matters very little, according to critics, when they are weighed against the content of what Osteen teaches (read Michael Brown's open letter to the Osteens), which some observers feel was typified in a recent YouTube clip posted online of Victoria Osteen making controversial remarks about Christians and worship of God. more >>
Perry Noble admits that he loves taking the offering in church as much as he enjoys giving money because he does not see it as an obligation but rather as an opportunity. Moreover, he believes "there is not a better investment on the planet than the local church!"
Noble made his comments about taking and giving money in a blog post after his South Carolina church, NewSpring, kicked off "The Church Just Wants Your Money" sermon series on Sunday.
"I love taking the offering in church. I'm sure you expected me to say that; after all, I am a megachurch pastor and it's really easy to take shots at guys like me when we talk about money," said Noble. more >>
NEW YORK — Contrary to a time when urban areas were abandoned in a rush of white flight to the more racially-homogenous suburbs, eager and excited church planters are now flocking to cities like L.A. and NYC, holding up the banner of God's call in Jeremiah 29:7 to "seek the good of the city." But, according to urban apologist and former church planter D.A. Horton, his peers mostly seem intent on seeking the welfare of the safe and gentrified urban areas.
Horton is also a former pastor and previously served as executive director of ReachLife Ministries. He currently works as the national coordinator of Urban Student Missions at the North American Mission Board, or NAMB.
NAMB is among numerous organizations and networks (like the Orchard Group and Acts 29) that are on mission to evangelize and revitalize cities by training, supporting and sending (usually male) Christians who say they feel called to start a church. With so many new churches being planted and launched (read about a few here, here and here), some observers have expressed concerns that the movement has become a fad. Others, like Horton, have noticed that amid the influx of Millennial-led churches to major cities, some leaders appear to be avoiding, or overlooking the inner city — frequently marked by poverty, high crime and afflicted education systems. more >>
WASHINGTON — Pastors Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and Christopher Brooks, head of Evangel Ministries in Detroit, say congregations must uphold their biblical responsibilities as members of the church by creating a "culture of accountability" for their pastors and church leaders.
Speaking at the Evangelical Leadership Summit hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, the two pastors who oversee inner city churches talked about an array of issues concerning pastoral leadership.
"I think a lot of churches are dysfunctional because their pastors are terrible. And I would like to see more healthy pastors leading more healthy churches," Dever said. more >>
Tom Mannin, the pastor of Oklahoma City Community Church which uses the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall for its worship services, is breaking his silence on the city's decision to allow a satanic "black mass" and the Christian service to be held inside the same building later this month.
In a blog entry posted Tuesday on the church's website, Mannin said his congregation, as well as Christians in general, have to respond with "love and hope" toward the Dakhma of Angra Mainyu who will hold a black mass in a theatre space at the civic center.
Pastor Kong Hee of City Harvest Church tried to wipe out links tying his church to Xtron Productions, the management firm behind his wife Sun Ho's pop career, the prosecution argued on Monday. Kong and five other church members are being accused of misusing $19.2 million to fund Ho's career.
"The reason why you were trying to sweep the transactions with Xtron under the carpet is because that's what you do if your house is dirty and a visitor might be turning up unexpectedly," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong.